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2018 New Jersey Fly Fisherman of the Year


My phone rang last Saturday, November 3rd morning at 5:45 am. The long awaited day of our 9th annual NJ Fly Fisherman of the Year Contest and Banquet to benefit the New Jersey State Council of Trout Unlimited had arrived. Torrential rains had moved through our area overnight. Shannon's Store Manager, Don Tretsky wished me a quick "good morning" and then asked "Have you checked the stream gauge?" "Donnie, it is 5:45 am and pitch black, I haven't checked anything." "Well it is 1410 cfs (cubic feet per second flow) and still going straight up. What's the plan?" "Well" I said, "let me get on the phone." I called Raritan Inn owner and NJFFOY co-conspirator and sponsor Bill Asdal. There was never any question of whether we could cancel the event. The banquet was set and folks would soon be arriving from across the state. I busied myself conferring and confirming with our judges that indeed the event was going forward but logistics needed to be addressed. Where would we fish? Where would we park? The river was still rising and daylight was bringing us more difficult news: The river was going over 2000 cfs!

Bill conferred with Shannon's Guide, Gerry Dumont and Shannon's Private Waters (SPW) member and contest judge, Kevin Lovely. Together they hatched the plan to move the fishing contest. We couldn't fish our beautiful waters for trout today. It was impossible but SPW also has access to the ponds at Black Oak Golf Course in Long Valley. A quick call to confirm permission and the move was made and the day was saved, simply brilliant. Contestants from the ten Trout Unlimited Chapters f